“I feel that as a female music maker, you have to push yourself”
Words and photo by Nneka NNagbo
By her own admission, Muzzy Legault is a relatively bashful soul.
“I’m pretty shy” said the Ottawa born, singer/songwriter, who has amassed a hefty Soundcloud repository of chill, sultry, beat heavy, and heavily hip-hop inspired, tracks over the last 5 years.
“[So far] I’ve only been recording at home. People have been hearing about my music so that’s how it’s been getting out, she said. I’m very new to performing”.
Her Soundcloud oeuvre consists of tracks that span ve years but document the artist’s progression and sound evolution.
“Growing up I was always told that I was spacey” she said. “I would allow myself to get in trouble for it.”
Her moniker is somewhat of an ode to, and commentary on, the “spacey” label she was branded with and her music re ects this. “Muzzy means unclear and dizzy”, she said. “When I started making music, a lot of my vocals were distorted and it sounded very experimental.”
Muzzy studied theatre arts and it was through her 2008 audition for a musical with the Orpheus Musical Theatre Society that she got a taste for singing and discovered her voice.
“I started really singing in 2012,” she said. “I was just recording for fun but it was never anything really serious. [Singing] is kind of still new to me.”
Much like her online inventory of songs, her approach to music/making does not follow any set order. There is no guiding theme, no unifying cohesion. Rather, Muzzy lets her creative process and artistic inspiration grow through her organically.
“I usually pick old school hip-hop instrumentals of Youtube and [the song] basically just starts as a freestyle,” she said. “So whatever comes up at the top of my head. And then I kind of put everything together and record it.”
The birth and construction of many of Muzzy’s songs come about like stories treated with a beginning, middle, and end. But some of her songs are bound by no creative structure.
“It’s kind of like storytelling but [it’s also] my imagination,” she said. “It’s really random. Sometimes I don’t even know half the stu I’m writing about. It’s really like a dream. You have no control over it. And, with my music, [sometimes] I have no control over it. It just comes.”
Her songs are often spacey, feeling at times like panoramic walls of distortion. Muzzy’s vocal delivery is a chill e ervescence with a ow that casually sways in-andout of deep mellow pockets. Many of her tracks are tinged with a velvety, ethereal quality, recalling sounds of Erykah Badu, Kali Uchis, and Little Dragon frontwoman Yukimi Nagano.
Muzzy introduces us to her irtatious vocals that purr on songs like “Liver Lounge,” “Sunday,” and the J Dilla produced track, “Jimmi,” a standout among her body of work. On the latter, Muzzy offers a sort of neo-soul take on the hip-hop heavy beat, the track casually bumping with smooth, commanding and controlled attitude. Harnessing an Ella Fitzgerald scat style of singing on her track, “Personne ne m’aime,” Muzzy espouses droopy Badu-esque vocals and sultry vibrato.
Her take on neo-soul, jazz, and hip-hop is inimitable in the music culture right now. At times, her lyrics are almost indecipherable, mu ed out by luscious echoes, however the feeling and mood that her songs evoke should be underscored.
“I feel that as a female music maker, you have to push yourself”
Both she and the esteemed golden era genre are inextricably linked at the hip. Like permanent ink tattooed on one’s skin, hip-hop has etched and cemented itself into her psyche—it is ingrained in her roots.
“I used to watch my brother make beats growing up and he was a big hip-hop head,” she said. “I used to go through his Source magazines, because he always used to get new issues. I would steal them and cut out pictures and put them in my agenda and bring it to school and show everyone.”
Her unconventional approach to sound and songwriting is alluring, not unlike the ex-Crystal Castles front woman Alice Glass, who Muzzy cites as being one of her biggest influences.
“I love Alice Glass. She’s a big inspiration for why I started making music,” she said. “At the time when I really got into Crystal Castles, there was no one that I could relate to more than her. Through listening to her songs, I felt [like] I had someone talking for me and listening to me at the same time. She seemed to have been through a lot and I’m the same.”
It is clear there are two di erent energies at play in Muzzy’s musical breadth. On the one hand, she is very experienced as far as recording goes. She is comfortable in this realm as she knows her way around any song she lays her vocals onto. On the other hand, she is relatively new to the world of performing, though you would never know this by listening to her vast and varied musical catalogue.
Her theatre training along with her old band, The Truman Show, gave her a brief taste of performing on stage. “I used to be in a band but it wasn’t anything too crazy,” she said. “We used to play at coffee shops. But I [had] never done this before on my own.”
As a female musician in a mostly male-dominated online and of ine music space, Muzzy feels the omnipresent pressure of women in the industry to take on many of the characteristics of a Swiss Army Knife and a sponge, that is, to know as much as she can and learn and absorb as much as she can.
“What I’ve experienced over the last few years is that you really have to learn as much as you can,” she said. “It’s a little bit harder because you don’t want to be just the girl that people ask for hooks or just the singer behind the mic. So I do find that it’s a bit challenging.”
“Even right now with producing,” she elaborated. “That’s what’s holding me back with all of my music. I don’t have instrumentals that are my own. I write all of my own songs and I do the vocals but I don’t do the actual beats. I have my keyboard and I got a drum machine and I’m just starting to make my own instrumentals. But it is a challenge.”
But Muzzy is both empowered and inspired by this challenge. Ultimately, she is driven by her intrinsic love of music and the reality of producing an album consisting entirely of her own beats.
“I feel that as a female music maker, you have to push yourself,” she said. “You need to learn as much as you can. You need to do a lot more. But the nished product will be worth it.”
Listen to her music from here: